18/04/2023 | Press releases

‘Keely was an amazing woman who has left a beautiful legacy’

A grateful husband has thanked staff at East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) for the care they gave his much-loved wife by presenting them with £26,500 raised in her memory.

Keely Barton (pictured below) was 53 when she died on 1 February after being diagnosed with breast cancer eight and a half years’ earlier. Knowing how selfless she had been throughout her life, her husband Frank decided to raise money to thank the Collingwood Centre, at Colchester Hospital, for the care they gave her – and was blown away to receive £26,500 in just three weeks.

Frank has now presented the money to Colchester & Ipswich Hospitals Charity, which supports ESNEFT’s work, to benefit future patients and staff at the unit.

“My beautiful Keely battled breast cancer fearlessly for more than eight and a half years, and always hit it head on with a positive attitude,” said Frank, who lives in Great Horksley and met Keely when the couple were teenagers.

“She built an amazing relationship with the staff at the Collingwood Centre, and without their professionalism her journey would have been much harder.

“Keely was the kindest, sweetest person with a fantastic smile and giggle, and we had an incredible 36 years together. I knew that she would love to give back to thank the hospital, as she did throughout her life by running the London Marathon for a friend with leukaemia and donating to many charities every month.

“I decided to set up a Just Giving page and reached out to our network of friends and colleagues across the world, many of which she knew from working in freight forwarding as a manager for Wallis Shipping Services for more than 30 years. Every donation was amazing and it was really touching to know that people wanted to help us both. It is a testament to the kind of person Keely was that we raised such a huge amount – it was an amazing achievement for an amazing woman and a beautiful legacy to leave.

“Keely would be extremely proud to know that she will be making a difference to the wonderful staff at the Collingwood Centre while also helping to make the journey a little bit more bearable for future patients.”

Penny Norris, corporate and trust manager with Colchester & Ipswich Hospitals Charity, said: “We are incredibly grateful to Frank for raising this amazing sum of money in Keely’s memory. It is a fantastic legacy which will make an enormous difference to staff and our patients at what can be a very difficult time.

“We would like to say a huge thank you to Frank for choosing to support our charity, and to all of Frank and Keely’s friends for their generosity.”

More information about Colchester & Ipswich Hospitals Charity, and how to support its work, is available on its website.

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